Three years have passed since I left Switzerland to start a PhD in Israel. So many things are different, but I was not expecting the changes to be so deep. I learnt a lot about myself and humans in general. Research is challenging and stressful and frustrating and exciting all together, and I am learning the hard way that having authority issues and sometimes too big of an ego is not making things easier.
Two years ago for my first alyaversary, I wrote about the things that I was missing from Europe and the things I would miss from here, and I realized that even those have changed. I barely wear heels anymore, I came to admit that flip flop is a decent footwear in most occasions. I don’t do shopping more than once in two months and kind of dread it, maybe because I hate malls, or just because buying a bunch of 5-shekel t-shirt at the Bedouin market once in a while is enough for my needs. I learnt to enjoy life every day, not waiting for the weekend to go and have drinks with friends or get depressed at home when Shabbat is over. Like most Israelis, I now fear rain more than terror threats, I know that you won’t get anything if you don’t ask and if you do, you might have to argue for a while but you eventually will get what you want. I learned that during war, some of our more basic, animal instincts wake up, that some friendships don’t survive the distance when others just get stronger. That warm people, sun and a sense of belonging are more important than money and a career, that when everyone calls each other “akhi”, my brother, you never really feel lonely even if you are far from your family.
When I was being asked if I could see myself living here for good, I couldn’t help but thinking that if one day I have children, it would be a crime to raise them in such an instable country when I can offer them the security of Switzerland. I am not sure about that anymore. It feels like children here have a happier, healthier childhood. Maybe it is because family is still a very strong value for Israelis, or maybe because the society doesn’t try to format them so much or just because there are still kids playing outside in the neighborhood, but when I see how much Israelis stay in touch with their friends not only from high school or the army but all the way to kindergarten, I can’t help but envy them.
When I look through the train’s window and see the desert all green, covered with flowers, I don’t think about politics, conflict or terror. I just feel that here, everything is possible, and I want to be part of it.
ולכל החברים היקרים שיש לי פה אני רוצה להגיד כמה אני שמח להכיר אתכם. אתם כמו משפחתי ואני אוהבת אתכם